Unfortunately, the truly international flavour of this weekâ€™s Predictorship selection was not warmly and universally embraced by all with only 33 players submitting scores. Could this be a boycott following the Chairmanâ€™s scandalous omission of the USA’s World Cup qualifier against El Salvador? Only you can tell us.
The only hint of discontent detected by our scouts was from Messrs Patrick and Gabe Bevilacqua who flounced about for an hour or two then added the fixture to their scorecards (Gabe in menacingly bold letters) at the head of the list. Luckily, this flagrant red rag to the Chairman turned into no more than a damp squib as neither went for the ensuing draw.
Curiously, among the 8 absentees were 5 players battling for honours, including, most notably, week 10 frontrunner Pete Yoder, who now drops down the pecking order to 6th.
A likely explanation for this strange behaviour is that the spring weather has seen a raft of predictors gambling out of their doors in search of greener pastures without a by-your-leave or a care in the world. Ted Warland, inspired by the smiling pansies in his informal mixed borders, expresses the sentiment eloquently: â€˜I hope the international scene blossomsâ€™ waxes Ted before turning back to his Thompson and Morgan catalogue, satisfied with a job well done.
But a few rays of spring sunshine are not about to turn the head of one challenger at the top: despite being in the process of moving house and with only a computer and internet connection for company, Steven Dunlop sidles up to 10th place.
Further down the table Ralph Hannah, David Jones (whose hefty haul consisted of 3 correct scores â€“ Ecuador, Portugal, Spain) and â€˜Emmy Award Winning writerâ€™ Mark Young are all making desperate strides up the table with 10 points each.
The top three remain unchanged from last week, with Chairman David Roberts losing form from previous weeks â€“ a trip to Scotland for David may have taken his eye of the ball, or maybe a sturdy porridge has turned his mind to other considerations.
Predictions of the Week awards go to Steven Dunlop and Iain Starr for remarkable foresight on the Ivory Coast v Malawi (5-0), although Cathryn Gregory’s Argentina 4-0 Venezuela is a worthy runner-up.
Seasonal highs are recorded for Patrick Bevilacqua (8th), David Jones (13th), Mark Young (17th) & Dave Breese (26th).
The Indian connection is now being terminated as the cases are wheeled noisily out of the door. Next weekâ€™s installment will be transmitting from greenest Suffolk.